Thinking aloud and progressing together: Cultivating communities of practice for supporting Hong Kong K-12 schools in embracing artificial intelligence

Tianchong WANG, Chi Keung Eric CHENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In recent years, there has been considerable interest in taking up the opportunities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. As an emerging concept and a driving technological force, AI is changing the kind of knowledge and skills students need for success in the forthcoming Industrial Revolution 4.0, and at the same time, enabling novel, powerful methods of teaching and learning. Although many school leaders, policy-makers and frontline teachers understand the need for embracing AI, they may lack clarity on what to teach students in the era of AI; how to harness the power of AI tools; and where to start given their own school contexts. This paper describes an ongoing study that uses Communities of Practice (CoPs) as a knowledge management strategy to support Hong Kong K-12 schools in embracing AI. CoPs comprise members who genuinely care about a mutual interest and seek to solve a common problem. The premise underlying this study is that the cultivation of CoPs may present enabling conditions and pave the way for AI adoptions. In these CoPs, members would engage in reflective discussions on the opportunities and challenges of embracing AI in their schools and collaboratively support each other through meaningful knowledge exchange.
METHODS: A collective case study is being conducted with members from 20 K-12 schools in Hong Kong to substantiate and illustrate the power of CoPs that aim to support schools in embracing AI. Qualitative data are gathered via semi-structured interviews and focus-group meetings with participants. Thematic analysis is adopted for analysing the data.
RESULTS: The preliminary results of this ongoing study have shown that CoPs, if successfully launched, can play an uplifting role for Hong Kong K-12 schools embracing AI. More specifically, the collaborative learning process in CoPs has helped members make sense of AI core concepts and the pedagogical implications as they access authentic, relevant and updated information. The collective reflections have further allowed them to distinguish between reality and hype of AI technologies, and between the valid AI affordances and unfounded worries of AI in education. While this progress has been encouraging, the effectiveness of CoPs can be influenced by schoolspecific contextual factors concerning AI such as infrastructure readiness, teacher capacity, student demographic characteristics, which can vary significantly. We therefore argue that meaningful CoPs be designed to allow all participants to critically review and internalise promising practices and lessons learned before they apply these into their unique educational contexts.
CONCLUSIONS: Cultivating CoPs can support Hong Kong K-12 schools to collectively embrace AI. Effective CoPs can help inform educational practitioners to plot a course for AI in education, which is especially important in the early days of AI era. Copyright © 2020 The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Citation

Wang, T., & Cheng, E. C.-K. (2020, November). Thinking aloud and progressing together: Cultivating communities of practice for supporting Hong Kong K-12 schools in embracing artificial intelligence. Paper presented at The International Conference on Education and Artificial Intelligence 2020 (ICEAI 2020), Hong Kong, China.

Keywords

  • Artificial Intelligence in education
  • Communities of Practice
  • Innovation adoption
  • K-12 education

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